Centella Asiatica - or gotu kola as normal people call it - has been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years. It’s traditionally used to improve small wounds, burns and scratches and it’s also a well known anti-inflammatory agent for eczema.
Recently science has taken an interest in gotu kola as well and it turns out it really has many active compounds with interesting benefits. Just for hard-core geeks, active compounds include pentacyclic triterpenoid saponins, asiaticoside and madecassoside, asiatic and madecassic acid.
The triterpenoid components are interesting because they are shown to be able to stimulate GAGs (glycosaminoglycans - polysaccharides that are part of the liquidy stuff between our skin cells), and especially hyaluronic acid synthesis in our skin.
Madecassoside can help in burn wound healing through increasing antioxidant activity and enhancing collagen synthesis. Asiaticoside was shown to increase antioxidant levels on rats skin when applied at 0.2%.
Centella Asiatica also often shows up in products that try to treat cellulite or striae. Of course it cannot make a miracle but it might have some effect via regulating microcirculation and normalizing the metabolism in the cells of connective tissues.
Bottom line: Gotu Kola is a great plant ingredient with proven wound healing, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Be happy if you spot it on the INCI list.
- Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Postȩpy Dermatologii I Alergologii, Volume 30 (1) – Feb 1, 2013, Centella asiatica in cosmetology